The holidays…otherwise known as the season of celebrated overindulgence. You can keep your healthy habits. Here are some tips to help you stay the course during the holidays.


Practice moderation

The foods likely to cause the most trouble are all the high fat treats waiting to tempt us on every holiday table. These include things like eggnog, desserts, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, creamy dips, cream-based soups and of course, cocktails. Does that mean you have to eat like a saint? Certainly not. The key is moderation.


Seven tips for setting good limits


  1. If the item is something you can only get once a year, go for it. Maybe Uncle Joe only make his famous family recipe for red velvet cake for the annual holiday meal. Enjoy one slice without guilt. On the other hand, if the item is something you can get anytime, like mashed potatoes, skip it.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Thirst can masquerade as hunger so limit excess calories by staying hydrated. Another advantage here is water can help you feel a bit fuller, so you’ll eat less.
  3. Eat slowly. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for your body to register satiety. Eat slowly and if you still think you are hungry after you have eaten, wait 20 minutes before getting another helping.
  4. Get enough sleep. With so much to do and so many to see it can be tough to get enough sleep. When you are sleep deprived you are more likely to overeat.
  5. Opt for a smaller plate. Larger plates encourage you to pile on and eat more food.
  6. Think quarters. Visually divide your plate into four quarters. Use not more than ¼ of the plate for your “treat” food. Make wise choices for the other ¾. Remember, most things being offered at holiday table are things you can eat anytime. You don’t have to eat them all just because they are being offered. Tomorrow is another day.
  7. Don’t skip meals. It can be really tough to make wise food choices when you are starving. Keep apples, hard boiled eggs, nuts and other healthy snacks on hand so the hunger doesn’t take you too far away from your health goals.


Finally, make a meaningful food mantra. This is a word or phrase you can repeat to yourself when the temptation to overindulge strikes. Your mantra may be about why making healthy food choices matters. Maybe you are trying to manage your A1c, blood pressure or weight. Maybe you just want to feel more in control of your eating habits. Words like I deserve to be healthy or I slow down and enjoy each bite mindfully can help. You can keep up with your healthy habits throughout the holidays and beyond.